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Common Cause/NY: "Governor Cuomo and Satmar Rebbe must atone for neglect of Yeshiva students"

STAFF REPORTS

NEW YORK, N.Y. -- Tonight, on erev Yom Kippur -- the holiest day of the Jewish year -- Common Cause/NY, Yaffed and the Workmen's circle call on the Satmar Rebbe of Williamsburg to atone for neglecting yeshiva students, and on Cuomo to take action.

Right before the September primary, Governor Cuomo, after receiving the endorsement of the Satmar Rebbe of Williamsburg, promised not to interfere with the New York City Department of Education's ongoing investigation into whether yeshiva students are receiving a secular education.

Yeshiva World wrote: "the Governor reassured the Rebbe that he would not interfere in Yeshiva education."

"On erev Yom Kippur, the Cuomo Administration and the Satmar Rebbe of Williamsburg must atone for neglecting yeshiva students. The Governor of New York State and the Satmar Rebbe cannot turn a blind eye as nearly 60,000 children attending a Hasidic yeshiva in New York City – mostly boys under age thirteen -- receive a paltry amount of instruction in English and math each week. This is not only a shonda, it is likely illegal. All students deserve an equal education -- the government should stop playing politics with their lives."

Statement can be attributed to:
Susan Lerner, Executive Director of Common Cause/NY
Naftuli Moster, Executive Director of Yaffed
Ann Toback, Executive Director of the Workmen's Circle.

Background
In June, Common Cause/NY, Workmen's Circle, and Yaffed, wrote a letter demanding that Public Advocate James and New York City Comptroller Stringer use their respective oversight powers to launch an investigation into the City's failure to hold yeshivas responsible for skirting state educational standards. Neither Stringer or James have publicly responded.

According to New York State law, nonpublic schools must provide an education that is "substantially equivalent" to that of public schools. Of the nearly 60,000 children attending a Hasidic yeshiva in New York City, most boys under age thirteen receive a paltry amount of instruction in English and math each week. Students are frequently taught by unqualified teachers while other core subjects are simply not taught at all.

Nearly three years ago, the Department of Education announced an investigation into thirty-nine yeshivas for failing to meet the most basic educational standards. The results of the investigation have yet to be released. Another school year begins without any required oversight for thousands of yeshiva students.